Iranian President Hassan Rohani responded to the attacks against him by the Tehran and Mashhad Friday Mass Imams, saying “Some are constantly concerned with people’s religion and the judgement day without expert knowledge of either.”
ISNA reports that Rohani, who was addressing a gathering on Saturday May 31 at the Department of the Environment, stressed that “a religious government” is something to be commended but not a “religion dictated by the government.”
“Religion must be left to its experts; to the senior clergy members, seminaries, and scholars; they must promote religion and the government must assist and support them.”
Yesterday, the Friday Mass Imams of Tehran and Mashhad used their sermons to attack President Rohani for saying that people should not be badgered by the morality police since “the people cannot be forced into heaven with lashes.”
The Tehran and Mashhad Friday Mass Imams rejected this view, saying the government is responsible for setting people on the “right” path even if it has to resort to force.
Ahmad Khatami said yesterday in Tehran that the government is responsible for “clearing the path to heaven.” It’s a reference to the activities of the morality police in supervising adequate hijab and outfits in public and preventing the mingling of men and women at parties and concerts or on the streets.
Rohani’s more moderate administration is bent on providing greater social liberties for the public, but those efforts leave Islamic Republic hardliners up in arms.